A shadowy Israeli billionaire who made his fortune in the insular world of diamonds has suddenly found his empire in jeopardy after close associates were busted in a massive smuggling ring and an employee mysteriously plummeted to her death from his high-rise Tel Aviv office building.

Lev Leviev, known in Israel as the “king of diamonds,” has enjoyed close ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin and has a reputation for generous philanthropy to Jewish causes.

But now, Israeli police are demanding that he return from Moscow for questioning on allegations of smuggling, money laundering and tax offenses.

It’s a stunning downturn for one of Israel’s most well-known tycoons — and a precursor to a wave of Jewish oligarchs from the former Soviet Union who have become power brokers in Israel.

Source: The Associated Press

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